I meant to write this a while ago, but I got busy…
Anyway, Halsey finally announced her new single “Now or Never” from her upcoming album hopeless fountain kingdom, and it’s a great song. The R&B-infused track tells the story of a love ultimatum – Halsey’s love interest is either going to love her now or never. The swirling chorus draws you in and is reminiscent of Rihanna’s “Needed Me.”
After traveling through the Badlands in 2015, I’m excited to explore the kingdomon June 2nd.
So I was updating my phone there other day, and I noticed you can sort the songs on your phone on iTunes by how many listens, thereby showing which song you listened to the most. Interestingly enough, the song I listened to the most was “Hold Me Down” by Halsey.
I was rather surprised by this because I wouldn’t say this is my “favorite” song – I mean, it would be on a list of songs I really like, but it wouldn’t be my all time favorite. I will say, though, the song has one of my favorite lyrics: “throw me in the deep end and watch me drown.” There’s something about that line that I find rather powerful.
I encourage you to sort your music on iTunes and see your listening patterns/habits. It’s rather interesting, it kind of tells you what mood you’re in. When I first started #PhillipsSongOfTheDay – something that has sort of died out (I’ve gotten busier) – I would choose one song a day, and keep a record of it on my phone (then on this blog). Looking through the list was interesting because I could see my emotional journey or, less cringe-worthy, how my emotions fluctuated over the months.
We’re one month away from the 2017 Grammy nominations being announced, so I thought I’d share my predictions – it’s fun for me and sometimes I’m weirdly accurate. One year I correctly guessed all the nominees for Record of the Year and I was 90% accurate on the other main categories (not that I’m bragging).
I know I already written about my predictions for Best New Artist, but I think that was a bit premature – at the time I didn’t realize that some of the following artists could be nominated. So below is an updated list of artists (in no particular order) who I believe could/should get nominated (not that the people in the last shouldn’t be nominated, but I think these artists have greater odds of getting nominated).
Twenty One Pilots
Personally, I think Twenty One Pilots, Halsey, and Maren Morris have the greatest chance of being nominated considering each made huge waves in their respective genres. Twenty One Pilots had a huge year with their hits “Stressed Out,” “Ride,” and “Heathens,” it’s almost likely they’ll get nominated. Halsey’s break out with Badlands and her new take on alt-electronic-pop deserves a nod. Maren Morris’ Hero is one of the biggest country albums this year, and she recently was nominated for a lot of big CMA awards (i.e. she has critical acclaim).
Kelsea Ballerini likewise made similar splashes in country music like Morris, but I’m hesitant to think she’ll be nominated because her album The First Time was released outside the Grammy period. However, the Grammy’s have bended this rule before, so you never know.
Alessia Cara and Rachel Platten both had huge hits (“Here” and “Fight Song,” respectively) and likewise have chances of being nominated as both albums are within the Grammy period. I’m hesitant, however, because while I’d love to see both of them there, I have a gut feeling…
You might know Halsey from her feature on the current number one hit “Closer” by the Chainsmokers. I discovered her music a few months ago (or perhaps it’s now a year? Hmm…time flies) when I somehow stumbled onto Badlands, her debut studio album (which is an incredible album). The album features her song “Ghost,” which apparently was the song that gained her a following and eventually a record deal.
I’m not entirely sure how true the story is, but apparently she released a version of the song a few years ago independently – which I read was more of an acoustic version (again, not sure how true that is) – before she got signed and they reworked it into the electronic song it is now. I was trying to find the original, demo version, and I found the audio to the following video that someone had stripped and said was the original – upon more research I realized it wasn’t the original but a performance she did for SiriusXM Radio presumably after she was signed. Regardless, it’s intriguing to listen to the acoustic performance and compare it to the album version – it’s interesting how many different incarnations a song can take.
While the 2017 Grammy nomination period officially comes to a close September 30th, I’ve been thinking a lot about potential nominees, particularly Best New Artist. Now the rules state that the nominee has to release “the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist” during the period, which would mean the album would be released October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016. I don’t know how strictly they enforce this because, for instance, Ed Sheeran’s album + was released in America in June 2012, but he was nominated for the 2014 Best New Artist – the release date was within the 2013 Grammy period. Regardless, I thought I’d throw a list together. It’s fun for me.
Halsey really made waves this past year with her album Badlands, which showcased her unique take on electronica/alternative.
Twenty One Pilots are a shoo-in for the nomination and win. They blew up last summer with “Stressed Out” and have been dominating the charts this summer and breaking records.
Rachel Platten was pretty big last summer with her hit “Fight Song” and made some more waves with “Stand By You.” She’d be an underdog, but Platten has proven people wrong time and time again, so she could get nominated.
Charlie Puth burst on to the scene with his “See You Again” collaboration with Wiz Khalifa, but this past year he shaped pop music with his album Nine Track Mind.
Shawn Mendes rose to prominence in 2015 with his hit “Stitches,” and his album. Personally, I think it’d be a stretch for him to be nominated, although he does have an incredible voice.
Marren Morris made her debut in late 2015 with her hit “My Church” and is the country darling following in the steps of hitmakers like Sheryl Crow and Kacey Musgraves.
So…that’s what I got so far. I’ll probably add to it and create more lists, but it’ll be interesting to see who gets nominated in December!
I’ve recently become rather obsessed with Badlands, the debut studio album by Halsey, after seeing her live in concert a few weeks ago. Sure, I was a fan of a couple of songs, but seeing her bring them alive made me delve deeper into the album and pretty much fall in love with most of the songs (or, rather, all). While Badlands has become one of my favorite albums this summer, Halsey has only had moderate success with it. Yes, it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 – an incredible feat for a new artist – but none of her singles as lead artist charted except “New Americana,” which only managed to hit number sixty on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad, but she’s not in the stratosphere that someone like Meghan Trainor entered with her first album. It’s not that I think success is determined by chart performance or album sales, but I’m such a fan of Halsey’s that I wish other people knew about her.
Currently, Halsey is sitting on top of the Billboard Hot 100 at number one with the Chainsmokers with their song “Closer.” When I heard the news, I was excited that this was a perfect opportunity to help Halsey get more exposure. Certainly she’ll see some units of Badlands move. It’s kind of like the Chainsmoker’s last hit song “Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya),” it helped get Daya’s name out there more. But, being me, I like to pretend what I would do if I was the manager in this case.
My fist instinct is that Halsey should release her first single from her next album relatively soon, to follow up “Closer.” If it’s timed correctly, it could create a great launching pad so as to avoid the cursed sophomore slump. However, I’m not sure Halsey is at the point where she’s ready to release a new album. After all, Badlands is barely a year old, and she’s been on tour for almost three years…I believe an artist needs time to figure out their life and emotions to write and create great music; she shouldn’t rush into it.
My next thought was that she should release one more single from Badlands or perhaps rerelease a single. “Hold Me Down” has been one of my favorite songs from Badlands since I first heard the album. It’s got an incredibly catchy chorus, and it was certainly a fan favorite at the Badlands Tour – it was one of the songs that really got the crowd going. I’ve always thought it had single potential. And it charted to number seventy-eight in Australia, so there’s a definite market for it.
But when I was sitting in traffic this morning, blaring Badlands, I was wondering why a song like “Colors” (the third single) didn’t perform as well (it failed to chart in the US). It has such a powerful chorus that really locks you in. I’ve always had a problem with the verses of the song, especially the first verse. It’s not really enough to grab you in and keep you to the chorus. A true fan will listen to it in it’s entirety, but it couldn’t survive on radio. So how can we make it radio accessible? Then it hit me: remove the verses, and make it a feature song, kind of like what Taylor Swift did it with “Bad Blood” and Sia just did it with “Cheap Thrills” (both songs ended up at number one). If they could find a rapper or some artist who perhaps had a bigger following add in their own verses, it could drive audiences in to want to hear more from Halsey.
Again, I do want to say that I don’t think an artist needs to have a number one song or album to be successful. For me, if an artist writes/performs one song that song changes one life (for the good), then the artist is a success. But I think Halsey has such great potential to grow her audience and fanbase, and with her talent, she really should take advantage of it.
I’ve been slightly obsessed with Halsey’s album Badlands – it’s an infusion of electronica, alternative, and pop – and I managed to scrape the last ticket to her Badlands Tour. I’m speaking literally, not figuratively. I got the last ticket. TicketMaster had a diagram and there was one seat left and I took it. Out of sheer excitement, I’ve been listening to Badlands on repeat, preparing for the show. During my listening quest, I stumbled across this acoustic version of “New Americana.”
I’m almost certain this person stripped her vocals out of the album version and just layered them over the piano, but I still thought it was amazing, particularly the first verse. With just the piano, the song is so fragile and beautiful.
This now makes me wonder how she’ll perform the song in concert….so freakin’ excited!
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." – JK Rowling